Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Anytime Chillicothe’s Addie Erslan is on the field, you can expect her to put on a show.
Wednesday’s season opener was no different as the lone junior on the Cavaliers’ roster found the back of the net twice, helping her team take down Bishop Rosecrans, a 2018 Division III state semifinalist, by a 4-3 final.
“I had a lot of chances and should have finished better, but the nerves got me a little bit,” Erslan said, laughing. “Only way to score is by taking shots and I was trying to capitalize on my opportunities. Anytime I see open field, I’m always pushing for the goal.”
This year Erslan has challenged herself to take on more of a leadership role as the team’s leading scorer, along with being one of nine upperclassmen on a roster of 25 names, 16 of which are freshmen and sophomores.
“I’ve had some good seasons in the past, but I think a lot of that was because I was an underclassman, so I had no pressure,” Erslan said. “I was lucky to have some great seniors to look up to the last couple of years. This year I’ve put more pressure on myself to set an example for the younger girls.”
The Bishops wasted little time showing their championship pedigree, despite losing their all-time leading scorer Kylan Harper to graduation after last season’s end. They drove down the field and let Kailey Zemba connect with the back of the net for a 1-0 lead at the 30:53 mark.
Chillicothe (1-0) shook off the early nerves and began playing with more aggression and assertiveness, which resulted in getting fouled for a penalty kick. Erlsan then connected with the bottom left corner of the goal to tie the game 1-1 with 20 minutes left in the first half.
The Cavaliers then began to create some separation from the Bishops. Zoe Ford was at the right place at the right time as the ball ricocheted onto her feet. She struck from 15 yards out and found the top right corner of the goal for a 2-1 Cavalier lead with 14:03 remaining.
Erlsan struck four minutes later as she outraced the Bishops down the field and scored her second goal of the half, pushing the lead to 3-1.
“She created a ton of chances, sometimes by not even being a part of the play but that’s how much she impacts a game,” Chillicothe coach Tyler Wickham said. “She went from a player who you think is just going to score to a player who makes things happen for others and you have no idea who is going to score.”
Being the program it is, Bishop Rosecrans came out on fire to start the second half. Zemba struck again to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 33:24 left.
Sensing the tide beginning to turn and fatigues slowly beginning to settle in for the Cavaliers, the team got a huge boost from Sara Harness with 19:07 left as she crossed right-to-left and snuck a goal past the keeper for a 4-2 score.
Zemba connected on her third goal of the game just minutes later, but Harness’ goal was too much to overcome as the Cavaliers held on for the win.
“The girls were beyond excited for this game and they played like it despite moments of fatigue,” Wickham said. “We started out great in the first half. We controlled much of the game and everyone did their part. Everyone who touched the ball had a chance to score. We could have and should have scored more than four. We left a lot of chances so we have to finish better. But we’re off to a good start.”
Chillicothe is back in action on Saturday at Marietta.